Updated: Thursday, 30 January 2014 19:08 | By Agence France-Presse

Plisson to make France debut against England

Fly-half Jules Plisson will make his France debut in Saturday's Six Nations opener against England in Paris after the team was announced by coach Philippe Saint-Andre on Thursday.


Plisson to make France debut against England

Jules Plisson takes part in a France training session in Marcoussis, outside Paris on January 30, 2014 - by Martin Bureau

Plisson, 22, will be partnered at half-back by Jean-Marc Doussain of Toulouse, while his Stade Francais teammate Alexandre Flanquart is preferred to Yoann Maestri in the second row.

Having been in outstanding form at club level, Plisson will look to lift a France side that struggled in 2013, losing eight times in 11 matches.

Along with Doussain, who is also 22, they will form the 10th different half-back pairing in 22 matches under Saint-Andre.

They were preferred to Maxime Machenaud of Racing Metro, who will be on the bench, and Francois Trinh-Duc, who was named in the squad in place of the injured Remi Tales but does not make the matchday 23.

"Jules Plisson is young but he already has a good array of talents, in terms of style, technique and strategy. He will play in the 'crunch' and he will need to start well," said Saint-Andre.

Of his decision to select Flanquart, the coach added: "It is the second row that plays together all year at Stade Francais. We have brought together an experienced player with another who is very strong in the air with his touches, lay-offs.

"We will need that against the English."

Stade Francais lock Pascal Pape will captain Les Bleus in the absence of the injured flanker Thierry Dusautoir.

Saint-Andre admitted that starting their campaign against England will give France an early indication of how far they can go in this season's Six Nations, although he was quick to dismiss any notion that they should be considered favourites.

"A win would give us a lot of confidence and instil plenty of positivity in the group, but a defeat could spoil the Six Nations," he said.

"The first international match often sets the tempo for your season. We know that because last year we had a defeat in Italy (23-18) and then we had a difficult year.

"You can't be the favourites when you finished last in the 2013 Six Nations! We are outsiders. The favourites are the Welsh and the English.

"We are just going to concentrate on Saturday's match and try to have a much better 2014 than 2013."

France team announced on Thursday to play England in a Six Nations international at the Stade de France on Saturday (1700GMT kick-off):

France (15-1)

Brice Dulin; Yoann Huget, Mathieu Bastareaud, Wesley Fofana, Maxime Medard; Jules Plisson, Jean-Marc Doussain; Bernard Le Roux, Louis Picamoles, Yannick Nyanga; Pascal Pape (capt), Alexandre Flanquart;  Nicolas Mas, Benjamin Kayser, Thomas Domingo

Replacements: Dimitri Szarzewski; Yannick Forestier; Rabah Slimani; Yoann Maestri; Antoine Burban; Damien Chouly; Maxime Machenaud; Gael Fickou

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